Meet Ottawa Lawyer Jessica Byles:

Hobbies/Interests:
Camping, cottaging, cooking, board games

Law School:
Lakehead

Pullquote:

“I’ve always had an interest in law. When I was younger my aunt jokingly told me I had the option of being either a doctor or a lawyer, because our family didn’t have any of those. And I said ‘I don’t like blood’ – so I didn’t have much of an option!”

Jessica Byles was entering somewhat uncharted territory when she attended Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin law school. Not only was it a newly-established school at the time, but it’s also unique in that it doesn’t require students to article before graduating, instead favouring work placements at law practices.

Looking back, however, she says it was one of the best decisions she ever made. “When you go from your typical law school to articling you don’t really know how to draft factums, or mediation briefs – you don’t really know what they are,” Jessica explains, adding that her work placement while in the program was immensely valuable. “I knew how to do these in my first and second year.”

In fact, Jessica had already logged 12 months of professional experience by the time she became part of Lakehead’s third-ever graduating law class in 2018. She landed at Auger Hollingsworth just a few months later.

After getting her first taste of law in high school, Jessica majored in history and law at Carleton University before heading to Lakehead. She says personal injury law provides a sense of satisfaction she didn’t necessarily feel when working in other fields. “I just really like helping people,” she says. “I like to problem solve, look at the issues, and see what I can do to help someone’s life get better – especially when people are experiencing hard times.”

Her time outside of work is typically spent camping, cottaging, going to the movies or playing board games with her parents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and friends around town. She’s also developed a reputation for her ability to throw a killer dinner party.

“I love to cook. And I’m very well known for my spinach dip,” she laughs.